Wednesday March 25, 2015

Sonata Maria posterRamon and Maria are erstwhile bandmates, one day their former bandmate Eric is set to return home from Manila, the three agree to meet up at the local carnival (karnabal). During the meet-up Eric’s homecoming is delayed, leaving Ramon and Maria to spend the evening roaming around the carnival.

This is the main setting of the Davao indie film Sonata Maria, the carnival provides a rich visual language which filmmaker Bagane Fiola wishes to convey. The carnival glosses over the characters’ anguish particularly Ramon Bonifacio (played by Krigi Hager) of living a boring routinary life buried under the excesses of a corporate rat race. His dreams provides his only escape and so is his memory- his suppressed feelings for Maria, the movie’s setting marks the whirlpool meeting of Ramon’s reality, dreams and memories.

Maria sort of plays a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, a cinematic character whose term was coined by film critic Nathan Robin.

According to Mr. Robin the MPDG “exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.”

Among famous MPDG characters include Summer Finn of “500 Days of Summer” (played by Zoey Deschanel), Penny Lane of “Almost Famous” (played by Kate Hudson), The girl in “My Sassy Girl” (played by Jun Ji-hyun), Enid of the 2012 Cinemalaya indie film “Ang Nawawala” (played by Annicka Dolonius).

Sonata Maria 2

Maria played by PK Whittmer existence in the story catapults the brooding Ramon out of his shell. The discussions between J.S Bach’s music and poetry suggests a soul mate link between the two but there is a lingering distance between the characters and the wait for the dismantling of that gap between the two characters provides an engaging act for the audience, the filmmakers throws in a rich palette of visual, spoken and musical elements which makes this movie a class of its own among local indie films.

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Rudolph Alama

The writer Rudolph Ian Alama is an entertainment columnist for SunStar Davao and has been the festival director of the Mindanao Film Festival for a number of years now. Every now and then he dabbles with photography specializing in fashion and food porn. He blogs at www.rudedolfo.blogspot.com . This film review was originally published in his blog on October 8, 2014

 

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